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Thread: Why did the 2002 toy line fail??

  1. #1
    Widget sivazh's Avatar
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    Why did the 2002 toy line fail??

    Seriously? Why was it not well received and off the shelves in a matter of a couple of years??

    The toys were so cool. The designs were amazing. Was it just bad marketing by Mattel? Loss of a key market since MotU had been out of the culture for so long?

    What? The only thing I have heard that I know of was that Mattel came out with too many variations of He-Man and Skeletor and didn't focus enough on releasing the full line.

  2. #2
    Heroic Warrior nemesis15425's Avatar
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    This has been asked and answered so many times...

    Mattel over flooded stores with repaints and variations. any new characters were short packed and hard to find. I assume that most true collectors did not like having to pay ebay scalper prices to complete their collections.

    Also, mattel did a great job of taking creativity away from the horsemen. the 4h had several great ideas (like he-mans sword and origins etc) but mattel said no. the 4h also wanted to do super-articulated figures (like marvel legends) but mattel wasn't interested. guess what mattel? you might have been wrong.

  3. #3
    Lord of Catra SKELEPIMP's Avatar
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    Jungle Attack He-Man...

    THE DEMON KEY - Skelepimp Mini-Comic



    Skelepimp Commissions are only a PM away....

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    Hakujin discosupafly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nemesis15425
    This has been asked and answered so many times...
    Yeah, the search feature is your friend and mine. But basically, Mattel is an evil monstrosity of a corporation run by winged monkeys and vampires - all of whom derive personal pleasure from the tears of small children. Seriously, they bottle it up and sell it as evian!!

    Basically Mattel are obsessed with market saturation and making as much money from as little production cost as possible. They figured that as with the first time around, reselling the same figure with minor cosmetic changes was the surefire way to make max bucks. The problem with that was that the new/different characters that everyone wanted - for example, the Fistos, Evil Lyns and even Buzz-Offs, were scarce and a difficult task for most to buy. For every case of toys you could expect maybe one or two of the new figures within the toy line, and via "clown car technology" - about 13 million 72 thousand Spin Blade Skeletors, Smash Blade He-Mans and other lame variants of the base figures.
    This oversaturation obviously lead to people NOT buying the crap repaints and redos of older characters, and desperately searching for the new ones they did want to buy. Seriously, if only Mattel had produced adequate amounts of the other "distinct" characters then the line may still have been running even now. Not too likely though, as without writing another page of explanations, the cartoon series was handled abysmally too. That means of course that with the main source of marketing the toy line gone, the only people left to buy the figures would be us hardcore devotees and not the target market of kids (etc.) that Mattel were producing mass numbers of Smash Blade He-Man for...

  5. #5
    Widget sivazh's Avatar
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    Actually, I did try the search first. I couldn't find anything directly. Maybe I just don't know what keywords or terms to put into it. Sowee.

  6. #6
    Powers of Grayskull Lord Snake Hunter's Avatar
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    Other fact that make MOTU fall was the lack of interest of Mattel in promove the Masters. For instance I was visiting the web constantly and they never renewed the information, never get info of each new wave...

    The MOTU web was a great disaster.
    TOP 20 MOTUC ITEMS WISHLIST

    -SONGSTER -SCROLLOS -EVIL ROBOT -STRIDOR -METEORBS

    NA: -GLEANONS -GALACTYMITES -WEAPONSTRONIC -SAGITAR -STAGHORN
    MYP: -QUEEN ANDREENO -GNOME MARZO -ORACLE -ODIPHUS -BONE MUTANT
    POG: -GRAY -BIONATOPS -TURBODACTYL -TYRANTISAURUS -BATTLERAPTOR

  7. #7
    Master of Arms He-Fan's Avatar
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    Chris here...

    I think the heavy reliance on (often rather stupid) variants of He-Man & Skeletor was a big factor in killing the MOTU line - I'm not as anti-variant as some, and in the cases of toylines like Spider-Man 2 or Superman Returns I can understand the mentality behind lots of versions of the same figure because they each have different action features showcasing something different that Supes/Spidey did in the movie. But, a large proportion of the He-Man & Skeletor variants were just silly attempts to reuse molds IMO, and so clogged up the pegs in the US.

    In contrast to this, the 2002 MOTU toyline was a huge success in the UK! And, IMO there were two reasons for this:

    1) Somehow we ended up with a large assortment of different characters on the toyshelves - I could walk into a Woolworths and have the pick of about 9 or 10 different characters to choose from. The only character I never saw available at retail was Teela - all the rest I found relatively easy to track down.

    2) The MYP MOTU cartoon was shown in a regular timeslot on a Sunday morning on ITV, one of the four main (non-digital, non-satellite, non-cable) TV channels here in the UK. Whilst it was also shown over here daily on Toonami, unlike the US the cartoon was also available to everyone with a TV through its airings on ITV.

    Seriously, if the UK's success had been reflected in the US, I think the statues and stuff that we're seeing would be actual action figures. Oh, if only...

    Take care...
    Part of the "Kidult" craze long before it was a thing! : )

  8. #8
    Heroic Warrior Orko's Magic Hat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by He-Fan
    Chris here...

    I think the heavy reliance on (often rather stupid) variants of He-Man & Skeletor was a big factor in killing the MOTU line - I'm not as anti-variant as some, and in the cases of toylines like Spider-Man 2 or Superman Returns I can understand the mentality behind lots of versions of the same figure because they each have different action features showcasing something different that Supes/Spidey did in the movie. But, a large proportion of the He-Man & Skeletor variants were just silly attempts to reuse molds IMO, and so clogged up the pegs in the US.

    In contrast to this, the 2002 MOTU toyline was a huge success in the UK! And, IMO there were two reasons for this:

    1) Somehow we ended up with a large assortment of different characters on the toyshelves - I could walk into a Woolworths and have the pick of about 9 or 10 different characters to choose from. The only character I never saw available at retail was Teela - all the rest I found relatively easy to track down.

    2) The MYP MOTU cartoon was shown in a regular timeslot on a Sunday morning on ITV, one of the four main (non-digital, non-satellite, non-cable) TV channels here in the UK. Whilst it was also shown over here daily on Toonami, unlike the US the cartoon was also available to everyone with a TV through its airings on ITV.

    Seriously, if the UK's success had been reflected in the US, I think the statues and stuff that we're seeing would be actual action figures. Oh, if only...

    Take care...
    totally agree. Those days walking into Woolies and picking up new figures from a massive range was a really nice time, short but very nice.

  9. #9
    Heroic Warrior Blue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by He-Fan
    Chris here...

    I think the heavy reliance on (often rather stupid) variants of He-Man & Skeletor was a big factor in killing the MOTU line - I'm not as anti-variant as some, and in the cases of toylines like Spider-Man 2 or Superman Returns I can understand the mentality behind lots of versions of the same figure because they each have different action features showcasing something different that Supes/Spidey did in the movie. But, a large proportion of the He-Man & Skeletor variants were just silly attempts to reuse molds IMO, and so clogged up the pegs in the US.
    Yes, I think this was a huge part of it. There were NUMEROUS times I raced to the store to get Teela, Evil-Lyn, etc, but He-Man was all I could find on the shelves. If someone like me who is willing to travel to every toy store in a half hour radius can't find the figures he wants, what's a kid without a license gonna do???

    Seriously, one of our major toy retailers is K-Mart, and after the first wave hit, they literally had a wall display of JUST regular He-Man. I don't think they ever ordered anymore because they must have had 20 He-Man figs of just He-Man that they couldnt sell out. I almost wanted to buy them all so the darn store would order Evil-Lyn.

    He-Fan, if 2x He-Man was such a hit in England, why isn't the franchise still alive there?
    RIP Andy Conrad.

  10. #10
    Etherian 626 gnewton34's Avatar
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    kids just weren't able to get into because of a lot of factors. no advertising, bad marketing, influx of too many of the same character. when we were young, he-man came on every weekday after coming home from school as compared to the new toon which came on late at night one day a week on a channel that not everyone has access to. he-man back then was basically drilled into our brains, he was EVERYWHERE, today many people didn't even know he came back and some STILL don't even know he came back. people here were and are shocked when i told/tell them about the new he-man which goes to show that mattel's marketing/advertising departments are useless.

    and without a popular television show or huge movie to back a toyline it's almost impossible for it to survive or do well
    Last edited by gnewton34; July 23, 2006 at 11:29am.
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  11. #11
    Master of Arms He-Fan's Avatar
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    Chris here...

    Quote Originally Posted by Blue
    He-Fan, if 2x He-Man was such a hit in England, why isn't the franchise still alive there?
    The explanation that I was given was that toy sales in the UK represented such a small part of the marketplace that it wasn't enough justification to keep the line going, or at least something along those lines. Also, new MOTU product would have required more cartoon episodes to back it up, which would have cost more money to produce than Mattel evidently felt they would see in returns.

    We did see the release of a couple of bits and pieces that were rare or just plain not released in the US from the end of the MOTU line, most notably the regular-sized Snake Armour He-Man, one of my favourite new line MOTU figures!

    Take care...
    Part of the "Kidult" craze long before it was a thing! : )

  12. #12
    Heroic Warrior Blue's Avatar
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    Thanks, He-Fan. Personally I think the new show suffered from being exactly what critiques said of the original series: it was a toy commercial. Instead of fleshed out characters, we got jam packed "Masters" all the time. ugh.
    RIP Andy Conrad.

  13. #13
    Guardian of Grayskull zodak74's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sivazh
    Seriously? Why was it not well received and off the shelves in a matter of a couple of years??

    The toys were so cool. The designs were amazing. Was it just bad marketing by Mattel? Loss of a key market since MotU had been out of the culture for so long?

    What? The only thing I have heard that I know of was that Mattel came out with too many variations of He-Man and Skeletor and didn't focus enough on releasing the full line.

    I think another big thing that killed it is, kids did not know about it or what it was. All you had was toys on the shelves at some stores (and even at that, a rather poor selection. No variety of characters to collect= where's the fun?).
    The cartoon aired on a cable channel and it's timeslot was juggled around even me as an adult had a hard time keeping track of when it was on.
    The toys did not have any commercials in heavy rotation. Check out www.youtube.com
    You can easilly find a colorful assortment of wonderfully-produced (especially for the '80s) commercials for Rokkon, Extendar, Man-E-Faces, Slime Pit, etc. I remember ALWAYS seeing commercials for MOTU toys in the afternoons or during Saturday morning cartoons.
    The new line? I was lucky to catch the tail end (all of 5 seconds) of a commercial for the Battle Tank. Ask anybody here on the boards- the new commercials paled in comparison to the old ones, and you almost never saw one on tv.
    I do agree with what Mattel has said about kids not picking up on MOTU and it resulted in poor sales/poor ratings for the show. But the reasons for that fall squarely on Mattel's and Cartoon Network's shoulders for NOT knowing how to successfully market their products.

  14. #14
    Vegor-Friend of Animals jakobinsane's Avatar
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    It was many things, but the biggest blunders were the cartoon being on a cable channel with not a lot of promotion for it and not a lot of promotion in general for the line. I feel the varients hurt and even more so was the case asssortment, but I really feel that it was the cartoon placement and lack of promotion for the cartoon and the toyline.
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  15. #15
    Heroic Warrior Mosstree's Avatar
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    The action features on some figs with the buttons popping out didnít help either for collectors. I dont think it even matters much with kids either, I know I never liked action features as a kid. Scale could have been a bit better too. Mattel was full of excuses it seemed at the time.

    It says a lot when the stactions can be so successful. Mattel didnít seem to want to cater to the collectors and it ended up coming back at them. They didnít seem to want to admit to their faults on the handling of the MOTU relaunch. I wonder what Mattel thinks of what and how the Horsemen are doing making this such a fantastic line. I think we're better off this way, we getting amazing stuff now, even if they arent fully articulated. Mattel does seem better now though seeing the DC stuff and more in tune and probably would have handled the line better if they were to do it all over again now. Iím so happy and thankful and even surprised that Mattel gave the stactions the green light.

    Unfortunately, we no longer have the MYP series (they sure did come into this seemingly not prepared, not the show itself, but the overall handling of the brand this time around). However, whenever the new series comes out on DVD hopefully soon, Iím hoping sales will be great to warrant getting a new direct to DVD mini season episode set to finish off the series properly.

  16. #16
    Vending Machine
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    Quote Originally Posted by nemesis15425
    any new characters were short packed and hard to find. I assume that most true collectors did not like having to pay ebay scalper prices to complete their collections.
    You hit it right on the head. Essentially, all the new characters became only available to scalpers who sold them on eBay for exhorbitant amounts of cash. Funny how the same principle also applies to the SDCC exclusives...but I digress.

    Lack of availability is what killed this line.

  17. #17
    Royal Guard chuc98's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vending Machine
    You hit it right on the head. Essentially, all the new characters became only available to scalpers who sold them on eBay for exhorbitant amounts of cash. Funny how the same principle also applies to the SDCC exclusives...but I digress.

    Lack of availability is what killed this line.
    The toy line is gone...but the staction line is going strong. And, I for one am happy that we have the figures in the form of stactions. These things put to shame anything that Mattel ever produced. Plus we're getting exactly what the 4H designed.

  18. #18
    Vending Machine
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuc98
    The toy line is gone...but the staction line is going strong. And, I for one am happy that we have the figures in the form of stactions. These things put to shame anything that Mattel ever produced. Plus we're getting exactly what the 4H designed.
    I also love the stactions. I've never liked con exclusives, though. It's the principle of the thing. They're getting better, though, since they didn't use a "new" character this year...and I like the AFX exclusive Sorceress, since she was both cool and accessible to me...

    But, yes, the stactions are quite awesome. Which reminds me...I've got to get wave three!

  19. #19
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    I think one of the main reasons why it failed because the new cartoon was really bad. I know a lot of you may disagree but it's undeniable.

  20. #20
    Vending Machine
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greyskull
    I think one of the main reasons why it failed because the new cartoon was really bad. I know a lot of you may disagree but it's undeniable.
    Your opinion.

    EDIT: Er...allow me to elaborate...

    It's your opinion (and yours only) that the line failed because of what you might call the "low quality" of the show. I happen to be one of those who disagree that the show was bad, and as such, I do deny your stance in that regard. However, I happen to believe that the show was involved in the line's downfall, but for a different reason: Cartoon Network's mishandling of it. It's pretty widely accepted that Cartoon Network plays "musical timeslots" with shows that aren't anime or produced exclusively by Cartoon Network. It's also common knowledge that Cartoon Network repeats episodes (like all three parts of "The Beginning") of certain series (again, those that are not anime or produced in-house) ad nauseum. You can probably file this, then, under the "lack of advertising" argument.
    Last edited by Vending Machine; July 24, 2006 at 02:41am.

  21. #21
    He-Bro! MK MOTU's Avatar
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    Simple, the line wasn't popular with children. Its not Mattel's fault, they did the best they could do. In order to make money at a B&M store, children need to drive the sales, hence the gimmicks (snake-men variants, he-man and skeletor variants) while satisfying the smaller collector market with "chase" figures and short packed characters. The cartoon was hardly shown around a time where kids could access it.

    Now it has atrophied into a niche collector's market with very little B&M support with mostly sales online. Its like when Jazz was very popular in the 40's and the 50's but now it too can be mostly found in niche clubs, special event venues, and coffee houses, nowhere near the popular numbers it once had.

    Before anyone cares to rebute, these are my views only.

    MK

  22. #22
    Heroic Warrior
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vending Machine
    Your opinion.

    EDIT: Er...allow me to elaborate...

    It's your opinion (and yours only) that the line failed because of what you might call the "low quality" of the show. I happen to be one of those who disagree that the show was bad, and as such, I do deny your stance in that regard. However, I happen to believe that the show was involved in the line's downfall, but for a different reason: Cartoon Network's mishandling of it. It's pretty widely accepted that Cartoon Network plays "musical timeslots" with shows that aren't anime or produced exclusively by Cartoon Network. It's also common knowledge that Cartoon Network repeats episodes (like all three parts of "The Beginning") of certain series (again, those that are not anime or produced in-house) ad nauseum. You can probably file this, then, under the "lack of advertising" argument.


    Why would CN keep moving the show's time slot if it was well received by viewers?

  23. #23
    Heroic Warrior Mosstree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greyskull
    Why would CN keep moving the show's time slot if it was well received by viewers?
    You could say the same about many shows and how the stations handle them. And maybe the big lack of publicity and commercials didnít pull in enough. Some fans didnít even know it was on.

    Like Commander In Chief most recently. Had great ratings and was winning awards. But because of the network changing time slots, days and being taken off and on so much, ratings declined, people lost interest and it lead to the cancellation of the show.

    I and many thought the show was fantastic. I loved it!!!

  24. #24
    Heroic Warrior
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    i remember about a year ago i walked into woolworths in the UK, and found all of the line, including red carded zodac,teela and evil lyn for buy one get one free for £3! (about $6) i bought 12 figures that day. the women behind the counter actually laughed at me, i remember distinctly "got yourself quite a collection there?!" i turned to her and smuggly said "and ill be selling them on ebay in 10 years for £100 a peice"....i wasnt going to sell them ever, and they probably wont go for anywhere near that much, but it felt good to see their faces all go ashen, and one of them to head over to the heavily stacked shelves and stare at the MOTU figures...

  25. #25
    Heroic Warrior
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    I bought a load in Woolworths when they had a BOGOF offer on, and the woman said something like 'are these all for you?' and I looked her in the eye and said 'Yes. Because I'm sad', which made her laugh, because she thought I was being ironic and really they were for a cousin or whatever, but of course I was actually telling the truth so I looked cool AND retained my honesty. Except I'm not sad and MOTU's cooler than coolest cool, but you know what I mean.

    Plus I paid for it on my platinum Amex, which always helps.

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